SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT TV REVIEW
NOVEMBER 16, 2016
TAPED AT FULL SAIL UNIVERSITY
AIRED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY JUSTIN JAMES, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
[Q1] No pre-credits video, despite this being a lead-in episode to Takeover Toronto. Liv Morgan to start the show. It is bad that when her music hits I expect to see Carmella? They seem to have similar characters. She is facing Peyton Royce. I suspect this is heading to some sort of tag team match in the near future.
(1) LIV MORGAN vs. PEYTON ROYCE (w/Billie Kay)
A nasty brawl is on as soon as the bell hits. Nice to see the energy matching the feud. Royce puts her down. Sick headbut drops Morgan again. Knee through the ropes, then a chicken wing through the ropes. Royce is putting the hurt on Morgan. Strikes from Morgan, they trade blows. Surprise rollup for two gives Morgan momentum. Bulldog and a kip up from Morgan, then a side Russian legsweep. Morgan clears Kay off the apron, rolls up Royce into a guillotine, and Kay breaks up the hold.
Winner: Liv Morgan by disqualification in 2:12. Good match, and I like how this feud is building. Morgan has added some new moves to her toolbox that help her meet her potential.
Post-match: Kay and Royce give a beating but Aliyah makes the save. Royce and Kay are winning the brawl. Suddenly Ember Moon comes out to make another save, she easily handles Royce and Kay by herself. Show of solidarity in the ring and Kay and Royce pound sand.
Flashback to the Dusty Rhodes Classic where Andrade “Cien” Almas turned heel on Cedric Alexander.
“The Return” is up next.
For the Dusty Rhode Classic final match at Takeover Toronto, it is announed that Paul Ellering will be “suspended in a shark cage” to keep him from interfering in the match.
Recap of the Dusty Rhodes Classic to this point.
[Q2] “The Return” is Elias Samson back from injury. Just the strumming of his guitar draws boos. “Drift away” chants immediately start up. He plays the guitar a bit, sings a few lines, then heads to the ring. Mega heat on Samson. There’s a jobber, Nathan Cruz in the ring.
(2) ELIAS SAMSON vs. NATHAN CRUZ
Cruz gets in a touch of offense but it isn’t enough to stop Samson. Samson has really stepped up his game to come off as a real heel in the ring.
Winner: Elias Samson in 2:27. Quick squash to start rebuilding Samson. Hard to tell if he is getting good heat of go away heat, but I like what I saw in the ring.
Backstage interview with Morgan, Aliyah, and Ember Moon. Aliyah says she is here to protect NXT. Moon says that she is inspired by Morgan’s fire. Morgan runs down Kay and Royce. Morgan suggests that Kay and Royce find a third partner to make a six person tag match.
Video package on #DIY’s march to face The Revival at Takeover Toronto for the NXT Tag Team Championship. The package really highlights how heelish The Revival are. Sit-down snippets with Gargano and Ciampa. This really feels like a huge match a year in the making.
[Q3] Video package on the Tye Dillenger – Bobby Roode match at Takeover: Toronto. Flashbacks to Dillenger’s time at OVW and ECW. He talks about NXT being his second shot at WWE. Roode just rips Dillenger and his career.
[ J.J.’s Reax: Really stellar package here, painting Dillenger as a hungry, hard working underdog trying to take on the experienced, larger bully veteran. Dillenger has been really elevated in this feud, in no small part because Roode is so good at being a heel. ]
(3) CEDRIC ALEXANDER vs. ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS
Almas just hides in the corner to annoy Alexander. Then he hides in the ropes. Then the corner again. Almas uses the ref as a distraction and locks Alexander in a side headlock. Almas lounges in the middle of the mat to show off, rolls under the ropes and does it there too. Alexander with a sudden flurr of offense, then land punches from a mount. Big chop in the corner and Almas sells it like a massive blow. More chops to Almas. Alexander whips Almas, who slides under the ropes, but Alexander follows and sends him back into th match. Alexander runs into a dropkick. Almas charges across the ring stops, then slaps the seated Alexander. Alexander off the mat with blows of his own and drives Almas into the corner. Dropkick catches Alexander in mid air. [c]
[Q4] The match is moving quickly out of the break, cover gets two for Almas. Nice to see the pace up a bit. Almas’ chest is cover in marks from Alexander’s chops. Running big boot in the corner lets Almas cover for one. Sudden rollup from Alexander for two. Almas is back on the attack, suplex, bridge, cover for two. Alexander finally works his way out of an armbar, but then Almas catches him with a triangle through the ropes. Almas continues to work the arm and shoulder. Low kick suddenly sends Almas sprawling into the corner. Alexander sells his arm as he fires up. Handspring into an enziguri sends Almas to the ramp, huge flip dive takes him down again. Springboard crossbody for two. Alexander with a rolling sentn, then a split leg moonsault, but Almas ducks, one-arm powerbomb in response gives Almas a nearfall. Almas runs right into the lumbarjack, but Almas rolls to the ropes and holds on to prevent a cover. Hammerlock DDT wins the match for Almas.
Winner: Andrade Almas in 14:34. This match was well done, but the feud just didn’t have the emotional energy to justify a nearly 15 minute, grindy match. When NXT does a match like that it is usually for something like Kevin Owens against Sami Zayn, not two people who teamed together once as part of a heel turn.
Final video package hyping the NXT Championship match at Takeover Toronto.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Decent lead in episode to Takeover Toronto. The matches I am most excited for are Dillenger vs. Roode, #DIY vs. The Revival, and Asuka vs. Mickie James (which has received virtually no hype and is being sold purely on name brands). Takeovers are usually solid, but this one feels a touch weak.